• France's news in English
 

Facebook: Users charged for speed camera posts

Joshua Melvin · 17 Jun 2014, 13:03

Published: 17 Jun 2014 13:03 GMT+02:00

Posting on Facebook has long carried the risk of embarrassment or insult, but increasingly, it seems, it could land you in trouble with the law.

That’s exactly what’s happened to a group of ten drivers in Aveyron in south-western France after they posted warnings on a Facebook page to other motorists about the locations of speed cameras and where police were carrying out traffic stops. 

And while some might consider the posts an act of citizenship and others may understand it counts as a minor infraction, prosecutors in France are taking it very seriously.

The defendants in the case, who’ve been charged with illegally detecting a speed enforcement device, could see their drivers’ licenses revoked and face an up to €1,500 fine.

One of the men charged said the case is ridiculous given that he simply warned his friends there was a speed camera on the side of the road.

“I’m being prosecuted because they have likened me to a radar detector,” David Alègre, 40, a lorry driver told French daily Le Figaro.

France has cracked down in recent years on devices that enable drivers to be aware of the location of speed cameras. In January 2012 the government introduced a law which banned the use radar warning devices, including GPS systems that included speed camera detectors. The devices were allowed to make drivers aware of traffic black spots or dangerous road sections.

Averyon prosecutor Yves Delpérié said he got fed up with people using Facebook to circumvent law enforcement’s efforts to save lives.

“I lay awake at night because people are getting killed on the road,” Delpérié told Le Figaro. “It’s appalling that certain people put out warnings about the locations of speed cameras."

This case could have wide reaching consequences in France, where scores of online sites allow drivers to reveal the locations speed cameras. In the case of the Averyon page, just ten people have been charged, but some 9,000 others follow it and are able to call out speed traps.

The lawyer for the lorry driver said the prosecution’s desire to make the roads safe is admirable, but he’s going about it the wrong way.

“The emotion of this prosecutor shouldn't be a factor in roadway safety,” lawyer Rémy Josseaume told BFM TV. “Traffic fatalities are horrible, but why not reinforce drunken driving checks or forbid drivers from using their mobiles?”

He went on to note the prosecutor is overlooking all the other ways people can learn about the location of speed cameras and officers doing traffic enforcement.

“I’m talking about radar detector companies, the media which publishes maps of France’s most used speed cameras and the police who themselves warn of speed enforcement actions on social media. It’s a double standard.”

France may see even more of this kind of friction as the country’s top cop, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve has just announced a new plan to drop the speed limit to 80 km/h on certain roads.

He said it’s just an experiment, but as France has brought its number of road deaths to a record low and hopes to continue the drop, the experiment may become permanent.

For more news from France, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Joshua Melvin (joshua.melvin@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Eurostar nightmare: 'We can hardly complain'
Passengers on a Eurostar train plunged into darkness, but should we really complain? Photo: Simon Gentry

Eurostar nightmare: 'We can hardly complain'

12 hours ago

The Local's Oliver Gee was one of thousands of passengers stranded for hours on six Eurostar trains that became blocked when migrants broke through security. He says it's hard to complain given the hardship of those that caused the chaos.

Man arrested over deadly Paris apartment fire
The body of a victim is loaded into a van outside a building in Paris where a fire killed eight people early. Photo: AFP

Man arrested over deadly Paris apartment fire

13 hours ago

UPDATED: A fire in an apartment building in the north of Paris early on Wednesday morning killed eight people, including two children. A criminal investigation has been launched and one man has been arrested on suspicion of arson.

French Couchsurfer host filmed guests in shower
The man admitted to using a hole at the back of his wardrobe to watch female guests while they washed. File photo: Steven Zolneczko/Flickr

French Couchsurfer host filmed guests in shower

13 hours ago

A host of the "Couchsurfing" scheme, who secretly filmed his guests while they showered and added acid to their shower gel at his home in Marseille has been jailed for six months by a French court.

France mulls new tax on home internet boxes
French culture minister Fleur Pellerin has revealed the TV tax could be extended to internet boxes. Photo: AFP

France mulls new tax on home internet boxes

14 hours ago

With more and more people watching television online the French government believes a tax on household’s internet boxes may be the only option to raise funds for the audio-visual sector.

Ministry hired '40,000 undeclared workers'
France's Justice Minister Christiane Taubira has been left embarrassed by revelations. Photo: AFP

Ministry hired '40,000 undeclared workers'

15 hours ago

France's justice ministry promised Tuesday to take action after an investigation leaked in the press found it had hired over 40,000 undeclared workers on a casual basis.

Wolf attacks: French farmers kidnap park boss
Repeated wolf attacks on sheep have left French farmers frustrated. Photo: AFP

Wolf attacks: French farmers kidnap park boss

15 hours ago

Around 50 angry French farmers have kidnapped the chief of a national park in the Alps, demanding he take action against repeated wolf attacks on their livestock.

What's on in France
Ten great things to do in France in September
The Techno Parade in Paris will see tens of thousands of electro music fans will take to the streets of the capital. Photo: Thomas Samson/AFP

Ten great things to do in France in September

17 hours ago

Who said summer was over? It may be back to work for most of us but there’s still plenty to do and see this September. Here are some unmissable events around France.

Eurostar chaos after migrants 'climb on trains'
Eurostar passengers left stranded on trains and at stations after migrants break onto tracks. Photo: AFP

Eurostar chaos after migrants 'climb on trains'

20 hours ago

Hundreds of passengers were left stranded on Eurostar trains in the early hours of Wednesday after several suspected migrants climbed onto the tracks near the French port of Calais.

French farmers in crisis
Hundreds of tractors en route to blockade Paris
A convoy of tractors is heading to Paris so best stay off the roads on Thursday. Photo: AFP

Hundreds of tractors en route to blockade Paris

1 day ago

UPDATED: A convoy of around 1,000 tractors carrying hundreds of disgruntled French farmers is heading in the direction of Paris where they plan to bring travel chaos to the French capital on Thursday in a bid to raise attention to their desperate plight.

Calais migrants' crisis
Calais: New migrant camp 'is not the answer'
The squalid camp known as "Sangatte without a roof" will replaced by what some critics are saying will be a new Sangatte. Photo: AFP

Calais: New migrant camp 'is not the answer'

1 day ago

The news that France will build an official camp in Calais to house 1,500 migrants has been met with anger by aid groups while politicians claim it will end up like the infamous Sangatte detention centre that had to be closed in 2002.

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS

'Sorry Parisians, farmers are coming' - 1,000 tractors to blockade Paris
National
Winter is coming as Paris hosts Game of Thrones exhibition
Came for love, fear for job, but adore way of life - Are you a typical expat?
Would a new Calais migrant camp be a step back to the days of Sangatte?
Opinion
French education is in 'crisis' - Here are ten ways to fix it
French minister says 35-hour week not working in France
IN PICS: Police evict 300 people from France's oldest shanty town
Features
Take a look at some of the wackiest bars you can find in Paris
National
Feminist stunt sees French road signs changed for the day
Travel
Could coaches overtake trains when it comes to travelling in France?
Meet the five heroes who foiled the French train attack
National
France set for 'tourism record' of 85 million visitors in 2015
National
Paris students are helping police to warn Asian visitors about crime
Naked couple found dead beside French fortress
Europe's biggest science museum burns in Paris
Robber found half-naked and asleep in French beauty salon
National
Here are eight tips for blending in with the French while at the beach
Humans of Paris: We meet the man changing our perception of Parisians
National
France reveals new plans for Sunday and late-night shopping
Read about this revolutionary kidney op in a Toulouse hospital
National
Panic after four dogs 'poisoned' after walks in Paris park
France hit by huge summer spike in abandoned pets
National
France boils in second hottest summer ever
Technology
Meet Max - the first person in France to receive a 3D-printed hand
Politics
French minister admits to 'Obama engagement' tweeting mishap
Features
From giant bubbles to treehouses - here are the craziest hotels in France
National
How would you like to spend a night in the Palace of Versailles?
French manager paid to do nothing for 12 years
Features
We talk to Calais residents about their migrant crisis
National
Cow spared after fleeing from abattoir in France
FIVE reasons why everyone should visit Calais... yes Calais
Travel
France for adrenaline junkies: Ten crazy things to do
VIDEO: Slingshot elastic breaks on ride at French theme park
This plant might spell the end of the Asian hornet invasion
Who says the French don't like speaking English
National
It may be trickier to find a baguette in Paris this August
Killers of French student were 'inspired by Breaking Bad'
Ten must-see French gems you probably never thought of visiting
Is it time for France to force Britain to move border back across Channel?
Is romance in France just a "heterosexual concept"?
Can YOU pronounce these ten French town names?
Dog buried alive sparks French social media fury
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se